Tuesday, October 31, 2006
News Roundup: Walberg Endorsement, Renier and Granholm
One week from Election Day!
Granholm brought forward Democrat Sharon Renier, who is running against Republican Tim Walberg in the 7th Congressional District.
Labels: 2006 Election
Battle Creek Enquirer Endorses Renier
The Battle Creek Enquirer endorses Sharon Renier for Congress in the 7th District, the first major newspaper endorsement for her.
Below, they write:
The Enquirer has a circulation of nearly 25,000, so plenty of voters in the all-important Calhoun County will see this. Obviously it wasn't an enthusiastic endorsement-- they had been hoping for native son Joe Schwarz. But it's certainly a big gain for Renier, especially coming after the non-endorsements for Walberg in the Ann Arbor News and the Detroit Free Press, and the Detroit News endorsing the Libertarian.
Labels: 2006 Election
Monday, October 30, 2006
Ann Arbor News Offers No Endorsement
The Ann Arbor News is hardly a far-right newspaper, but it has its conservative leanings, from time to time. In 2004, for example, it endorsed George W. Bush over John Kerry, despite John Kerry winning Washtenaw County 63-35.
So one would expect the paper to follow the conventional wisdom and pick Tim Walberg (R) for the open 7th District seat, right? After all, he's just going to win anyway, right?
Well, maybe not. The Detroit News chose the Libertarian candidate, and now the Ann Arbor News chooses to endorse no one. That's right-- they couldn't bring themselves to endorse Tim Walberg.
Walberg's entrenched conservative stances on virtually every issue, from abortion to Iraq, offer no room for compromise - and that ideological rigidity should have no place in Congress. His unwillingness to engage in the necessary give and take of governance makes him an untenable choice.To be perfectly fair, they didn't have kind words for Sharon Renier either.
That said, while it might not be a victory for Renier, it certainly is a defeat for Tim Walberg. He's been running since the primary as if winning the general election is inevitable, and now more and more people around the district are realizing that there's another option.
The new question: Will any newspapers endorse Tim Walberg?
Now, tonight's Walberg Voting Record highlights:
I'll be honest, I'm tired tonight, so I'm going to take the easy way out. The following were three votes on the same issue:
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Walberg Voting Record - 8 Days Out
So, I did have a lengthy introduction to this post, with my thoughtful musings on the importance of the last week of a campaign, and Tim Walberg and Sharon Renier's relative positions going into it. And then Blogger decided to have a momentary collapse on me, and it was all lost.
Ah well. Such is life.
Here's tonight's highlighted votes from Tim Walberg's time in the state legislature. Six votes for your viewing pleasure, since I missed last night.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Dick DeVos on Walberg's Scandal
Matt at Michigan Liberal beat me to this story and, as always, he writes about it so much better than I could. Head on over and read his take. But first, a couple items. Quoted in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot article, Dick DeVos says:
"The individuals working with you are a reflection of who you are," DeVos said en route to Jackson, where he appeared at a political event. "Therefore, as a leader, you have a responsibility to make sure individuals on staff reflect our values, our views."I agree, Mr. DeVos. (Wow!) The fact that Tim Walberg kept Daniel Coons on his staff after learning he had been charged on September 12, and then keeping him on his staff even longer after Coons pleaded guilty (September 18) says quite a lot.
Mind you, this is probably the only area where I agree with Dick DeVos. After all, he just said, "We have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation... That is unacceptable." I know, I know, it was a simple mistake. But still...
Anyway, enough of that. Go read what Matt has to say.
When you're done with that, here's tonight's sample of Tim Walberg's voting record.
SB 904 (Senate Bill)
HB 5622 (House Bill)
HB 5642That's it for tonight. Go Tigers!
Sharon Renier Wins! Well, Almost...
To start this post, I'd like to say there's no particular reason I've been mentioning so many Jackson Citizen-Patriot articles lately, except that they've been doing a great job reporting on this race. In fact, I'd like to say that I've been impressed throughout the entire campaign by the Citizen-Patriot, the Battle Creek Enquirer, and (especially during the primary) Adrian's Daily Telegram. These papers have been leading the way for local journalism.
As the Jackson Citizen-Patriot reports today, the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce held the "Party Politics mixer," highlighting Republican gubernatorial nominee Dick DeVos (Granholm didn't attend) and the two major-party candidates for the 7th Congressional District, Tim Walberg (R) and Sharon Renier (D).
Just to be clear, this wasn't an overwhelmingly Democratic event. In an unscientific straw poll held, DeVos defeated Granholm 54 percent to 44 percent among the 400 people that attended. So imagine my excitement when I read this:
Renier defeats Walberg! Not only that, but she was 4 percent ahead of Governor Granholm, the top Democrat on this year's ballot.
It's not a final result, of course, but it shows that November 7th is going to be an exciting night. My prediction: Somebody is going to be very surprised. Beyond that, I can't say.
Also: If you're in the eastern portion of the 7th District, some comments might be of interest to you.
Carol K. said:
I got polled yesterday evening. The questions were about Governor and Congress. I don't think they even asked about Senatorial. The call came from US Field Research or that's what my phone picked up - 801-226-1911. I'm in Chelsea. There are Renier signs starting to pop up. We're on Main St / M52, and we've been looking to get a sign. We have great exposure. I've noted the tendency of local Republicans to only endorse Ouimet for Commissioner, and no one else for anything.The entire comment is important-- and I hope that the poll is public sometime soon. But I've bolded the portion relevant to the next comment, by mich:
carol k i live in adrian & if you need Sharon Renier yard signs e-mail me at lenaweeadrian[at]yahoo.com anyone else that also need yard signs feel free to email me as wellI haven't hyperlinked the e-mail address and you'll have to replace "[at]" with "@", since I don't want to make it too easy for the spam bots to target that e-mail address. If you want a sign before Election Day, now's your chance!
Labels: 2006 Election
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Renier Momentum - Plus Walberg Voting Record
I wish I had hard, quantitative evidence to back this up-- someone really needs to do another poll on the 7th District (and this time, include the minor party candidates)-- but the feeling I've got is that Sharon Renier has all the momentum. Earlier, I wrote about seeing lots of Renier signs here in Lenawee County.
An anonymous poster from the comments:
"I see a lot of Renier signs in Tecumseh and Adrian-- I can only imagine what Battle Creek and Jackson look like."(Emphasis added)
No Walberg signs in GOP yards, Democratic yards with Sharon Renier, and even Republican yards with Renier. Folks, I'm excited. (Though, I'll hope for all our sakes that the "a very good sign!" bit was not intended to be a pun. :-)
In the final week before the election, I'd like to try to do a major online push for Sharon Renier, on Michigan Liberal and any other Michigan blogs, plus national blogs like MyDD and DailyKos. If you're a blogger and are interested in doing some pro-Renier, anti-Walberg writing, let me know.
Finally, tonight's sampling of Tim Walberg's voting record while in the Michigan House of Representatives... I've got six votes for you, 'cause I missed yesterday.
Create a State Police Radio Network
Walberg Child Abuse Scandal
Susan Demas at the Jackson Citizen-Patriot reports today:
By now, most people have heard about this. If you haven't, check out the initial story from yesterday here. While Tim Walberg himself was not involved, it does make one wonder about his choices for staffers. Coons stayed on the Walberg campaign payroll long after he was charged, and it was only after the guilty plea and the media exposure that he resigned.
The article continues:
As the "values" candidate, what kind of healthy family does Tim Walberg support, exactly? This kind?
The boy had the beginning of a black eye, finger marks on his face and trouble opening his jaw, according to the police report. After the incident, Coons' two foster children were removed from his home.The children were removed, and Walberg says they should be returned to Coons. Now, this is a matter for the court to decide, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was probably a good move for the children to get out of that home.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Walberg condones child abuse. I have no doubt that he was good to his own children and sincerely hope he is as sickened as the rest of us at this sort of behavior by his staffer. But what about his "family values"? For some reason, I'm thinking that perhaps all the values talk is just political posturing to earn votes. I don't know why I'd think that, though.
It's funny, though, that the only "family values" he ever talks about are his anti-abortion crusades and his anti-gay marriage/anti-homosexuality crusades.
Mr. Walberg-- Could this incident have been prevented if same-sex couples weren't allowed to be married in Massachusetts?
Matt at Michigan Liberal says a lot of this and more all much more eloquently.
Oh, one last thing: Sharon Renier's statement, in full:
I was saddened to hear that a young boy was severely beaten by one of Tim
AHH! - October 25-26, 2006
That's been my reaction for the last two days. I got home yesterday, checked my e-mail, and that's when it all started. Unfortunately, just after reading my e-mails and managing to make one comment on Michigan Liberal, my internet connection revolted. Grr...
Now, I'm trying to do a rush post, but more'll come later, I promise. (and this time, I really mean it!) Unfortunately, I need to be somewhere in about ten minutes, so this is the quick take.
To start off, I got at least a dozen e-mails regarding the article in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot (and similar articles) about Tim Walberg's paid staffer that's been convicted on domestic violence charges. It's worth noting that he was kept on well after he was charged, and only resigned after being convicted. Funny, how no one heard about this before.
I also got a few e-mails noting that the Michigan 7th District and Tim Walberg have been added to the list of seats that the National Republican Campaign Committee is allocating last-minute funds for. These are basically the 33 seats that the GOP hasn't given up hope on but are afraid that they might lose. That's right-- the Republicans are seriously worried that they might lose. Sharon Renier has the momentum!
Add on to that the negative, anti-Renier ads that have been spotted around the district, both funded by Tim Walberg's campaign and the NRCC, and you know that Renier is making inroads. Driving around Lenawee County, my home and Tim Walberg's home, I see a lot of Renier signs in Tecumseh and Adrian-- I can only imagine what Battle Creek and Jackson look like. As Renier's name recognition goes up, expect her to do better on Election Day.
It's also worth noting a few things from Sharon Renier herself. On her website, they've added their television ad and the FEC complaint against Walberg and the Club for Growth filed by Joe Schwarz. Check 'em out.
I'm probably forgetting some stuff, but feel free to mention what I missed in the comments. Meanwhile, you should head on over to Sharon Renier and give her some love, money, and volunteer hours.
Tonight, we'll have a double dose of Tim Walberg's voting record highlighted, to make up for yesterday.
(By the way- yesterday, we set a new record for unique visitors to the site, and today, we're on track to match it!)
Labels: 2006 Election
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Walberg Voting Record - 14 Days Left
Tonight's highlighted votes from Tim Walberg's 16 years in the state legislature:
SB 730Is this the way you want your representative voting in Washington?
Monday, October 23, 2006
Walberg's Voting Record
As promised in the Siena Heights debate, Sharon Renier has made Tim Walberg's voting record available on her website.
I suspect I'll be referencing this a lot in the future. Meanwhile, go check it out, and see all the things on which Walberg voted no.
From tonight to Election Day-- just 15 days away-- I'll be highlighting three of Walberg's votes while in the state legislature. Some might require explanation, but tonight's votes speak for themselves.
Sorry for going so long without any new posts... Life gets busy, from time to time, and last night, I had two choices. Either I could write something here, or I could watch the Tigers win Game Two of the World Series. Of course, like any true Michiganian, I picked the Tigers.
(By the way-- want to know why the Tigers lost Game One? It's all because of Dick Devos, Republican nominee for governor. Seriously, it's like a curse! Here and here.)
Nevertheless, plenty of things have been a-happening.
First off, the Detroit News announced their endorsements in all the congressional races around the state. Let's remember, the paper is the more conservative one in the Motor City, with Wikipedia noting that:
Editorially, the News is conservative. It has never endorsed a Democrat for president, and has only failed to endorse a Republican presidential candidate three times--twice during the Franklin D. Roosevelt era and once again during in 2004, when it refused to endorse George W. Bush for reelection.Ordinarily, they endorse the GOP nominee for the 7th District. But this time, not so much.
In the open 7th District, the major party choices are the far-right Tim Walberg and the far-left Sharon Marie Renier. We'll shun the extremes and take our chances on the Libertarian candidate, Robert L. Hutchinson , a retired Air Force major from Dexter.(Note: I don't think anyone could honestly call Renier "far-left," but the DN is a conservative paper...)
That's right, they endorsed Libertarian Robert Hutchinson. Let's remember, Hutchinson isn't running to win, but to make a point about foreign policy. When he found out, this was his reaction:
"Wow," said Hutchinson, a World War II veteran. "I hadn't heard, no. But the reaction is 'wow.'"Now, if you're deciding between Walberg and Hutchinson, I'd urge you to vote for Hutchinson. He's a man of principle. But before you do, consider Sharon Renier.
Next up, we've got a Jackson Citizen-Patriot article by political reporter Susan Demas on Sharon Marie Renier. It's a nice piece, and worth reading. A few important excerpts:
But Renier presses on. Describing herself as a "pro-life, gun-toting Democrat with a libertarian streak," she said her message also holds appeal for Republican and independent voters.And...
It's clear that she's working hard to earn the votes of the 7th District, and not buying them with out-of-state funds.
Which brings us to another Citizen-Patriot article. The Club for Growth is back:
After raising more than $600,000 for GOP challenger Tim Walberg in the primary, the Washington-based political action committee sent a fundraising plea Thursday to its 36,000 members, Executive Director David Keating said.(Emphasis added)
Yes, the money is rolling in once more for Tim Walberg, from all across the country. Just not Michigan.
That's all for now. If you see any good articles, let me know!
Labels: 2006 Election
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A Pastor, a Chicken Farmer, a Veteran, and -- The MI-07 Debate
Let me say again, the debate last night was quite a sight. It was a diverse set of candidates (as seen in the title), and very animated, in contrast to the debate immediately preceding it.
As the candidate's discussed their views on the issues, I was writing notes on each question and each answer at a frantic pace. Not quite live blogging-- there was no internet connection, but I didn't have a laptop anyway-- but it's the next best thing.
I've tried to keep my editorializing to a minimum, presenting the questions and answers as clearly and honestly as I can. Anything in quotation marks is an actual quote, with perhaps minor human error on my part. Questions are abbreviated, but the intent is preserved. It's not as nice as a transcript would be, but hopefully it'll give you a fair idea of how the debate progressed.
Questions came from two panelists, one from Adrian's Daily Telegram, the other from radio station WLEN. Each question was addressed to a specific candidate, who had three minutes to answer, and then each of the other three candidates were given one minute for a response or rebuttal. In addition, each candidate was given an opportunity to give an opening statement and closing comments, in most cases pre-written statements.
If you don't like my coverage or doubt my objectivity, feel free to check out the other media coverage:
The Daily Telegram - "Sharp lines drawn as Renier attacks Walberg"
The Jackson Citizen-Patriot - "Congress candidates square off in Adrian"
Now, the 7th District Debate:
- Read personal resumé.
- Born in 1923, graduated high school in 1941 and joined the Army Air Corps. Distinguished career of service through World War II.
- Has been active in politics since high school, but this is his first run for office. Why now, at age 83? Service.
- Hates to believe that lives have been lost for nothing, and, rather than running against the other three candidates, is running against a failed, bipartisan 50-year-old foreign policy.
- Described record of service, including 16 years in the Michigan House of Representatives, 57th District.
- Stands for low taxes, life, traditional marriage.
- Dedicated to "cutting spending that's threatening liberty."
- [Note: Mistakenly thanked Spring Arbor College for hosting the event; actual host was Siena Heights University]
- Has witnessed a downward trend for the country over the last two years.
- Stands against curruption, spending.
- Believes the people ought to decide life, marriage issues, not the unelected courts.
Sharon Marie Renier
- Described herself as a farmer, businesswoman, and mother.
- Hopes to send a message-- American people are not satisfied with Iraq, corruption, the Foley scandal, and President Bush.
- Source of trouble is the protective attitude of Washington Republicans, protecting the "good old boys"; Walberg is just another one of them.
In order to combat the debt, what would you do and what programs might you defund?
- Stop being the "policemen of the world"
- "Well, where to begin?"
- Cut No Child Left Behind, eliminate the Dept. of Education as sources of wasteful spending (noted that local control of education was preferable)
- Cut earmarking, pork-barrelling
- Noted he had the same reaction as Walberg-- "Where to begin?"
- Would also cut corporate subsidies-- they don't benefit individuals
- Eliminate Dept. of Health and Human Services and Dept. of Labor (and, presumably, others) as there's no constitutional basis.
- Support a Balanced Budget Amendment
- Support a line-item veto-- especially with defense bills, unrelated pork is added to bills that will pass to "support our troops"
- "Get Iraqi politicians off American welfare."
Do Americans have a right to universal health care?
- "Absolutely not. It's not a right, it's an opportunity we have."
- Get rid of third-party pay system [Note: get rid of insurance companies?], encourage personal responsibility.
- Tort reform-- fewer lawsuits
- America has the greatest health care known to the world
- Agrees with Walberg
- Universal health care would force health care professionals to work without adequate payment
- Notes the "amazing hypocricy" of Walberg-- the state of Michigan gives him free health care
- Pay for universal health care by eliminating Social Security cap of $87,000
- Admits that it's a tax increase, but only on the wealthiest 1 percent-- "Bill Gates has made $87,000 in the time we've been sitting here" and everything after that is currently untaxed.
- Similar to No Child Left Behind-- "You can't make all students geniuses"
- Must accept that death, illness are a part of life.
Should the federal government work to ensure safe, secure housing for low-income and minority citizens?
- At the federal level, there's no authority for that
- State, local government offers an opportunity for such work
- Agrees that it's more a state issue than a federal issue, but feels that more must be done
- If Halliburton, etc. can profit off of war reconstruction, why not profit off of a positive endeavor?
- "Instead of making bullets, make nails to build"
- States that he agrees with Horn.
- Notes that he's always scared by those who want to redistribute wealth.
- From living in Chicago, saw project homes which were later torn down [audience led to believe he opposes housing projects]
- Nation thrives best when left to the private sector to solve problems.
Do you support a withdrawal from Iraq? If not, what future course do you see?
- Get Iraqis off American welfare
- Not a "cut-and-run Democrat" despite what opponent might say.
- Best thing to do is to get the American face out of Iraq-- we're polarizing figures in the region
- Bring in an international peacekeeping force
- Iraqis won't protect themselves because they know that we're there for them; they'll only take responsibility if they know we're leaving.
- America should leave Iraq as soon as the American people want it.
- Wrong to blame everything on Bush-- the current situation is the result of a bipartisan foreign policy.
- "We too easily forget 9/11" [Audience begins booing], "We too easily forget the bombing of the USS Cole"
- Terrorism still an important issue
- No cut and run, must stay in Iraq
- The Iraqi army is working
- As he sees it, two options face America-- commit to specific objectives, or immediately withdraw
- A timetable would be no different than withdrawal, but would put troops at risk
- Supports identifying specific objectives to be achieved.
Aren't taxes payment for living in a free country like America? (Audience-submitted, directed at Walberg)
- No. In Constitution, the government is responsible for less than it does now.
- Current taxation goes beyond what the country was formed on.
- Rights have been given away
- Big government is all-powerful, and we depend on it for everything-- we shouldn't be "sheep"
- Taxes are a necessity, but current levels are too much; government abuses its money.
- States that he agrees with Walberg
- Adds that prior to the 16th Amendment, tariffs and excises funded the government, thus limiting power of the government by the strength of the economy.
- "No one wants taxes" but they're necessary
- Renier plan would eliminate taxes on all those who make less than $20,000 per year
- Notes that government must have a presence because everyone expects help after disasters like Katrina, which are too much for the individual
- Supports a "strong, silent government" that's there when you need it, but not intrusive.
- If Walberg has his way, "big, expensive government on the left will be replaced by big, intrusive government on the right."
- Country was founded on "No taxation without representation"
- Only people taking part in the political process can stop high taxes
- Urges involvement in party conventions, policy-making
What should the government to help revitalize Michigan's economy?
- Asks for clarification: "The federal government?" Moderator: "Yes, the federal government." Hutchinson: "Sounds to me like it's Michigan's problem!"
- "He's almost exactly right"
- 49 other states are fine, only Michigan has problems.
- Result of high taxes, big government in Michigan
- Supports tax cuts, and letting the private sector act.
- States that he agrees with Walberg.
- Adds: eliminate all personal, business income taxes.
- Lived whole life in Michigan, loves the state
- Ought to protect jobs here before they're claimed by outsourcing.
- Personally working with an inventor/businessman (who's in the audience) to bring 2500 jobs to the district.
- Wants to work toward job retraining for those facing job loss.
Name one change you'd like to see in the current immigration policy.
- Wishes she could have warned us last year about the Katrina trailers, but heads up-- if you want to get back some wasted tax dollars, buy stock in the company contracted to build the fence with Mexico.
- Must prosecute those companies/businessmen that hire illegal aliens.
- Must allow citizenship to those who have followed the law and have waited first.
- Distinguishes between illegal aliens and her experiences with "wonderful" migrant workers-- American citizens and legal residents who "just happen to speak Spanish."
- Just hit 300 million-- when will it be enough?
- You're not a citizen with rights until you're a citizen. [Note: I'm not sure exactly what his point was with this statement, but he said it with passion, so it must be important.]
- If you want a place in America, you must learn English.
- Quotes Ronald Reagan [Note: 3rd time referencing/quoting Reagan], arguing for a fence/wall between US and Mexico.
- Must secure the border; no amnesty; reduce bureaucracy; promote English language.
- Agrees, and adds: don't just focus on southern border, northern border too.
- Canadian immigration policy is lenient, dangerous people may immigrate to Canada and come across the border.
- Fences both North and South.
- Repeats-- not running against the other candidates, but against US foreign policy
- Looking for a genuine debate on "the money, the lies, the war."
- Notes his legislative experience-- quotes Alexis de Tocqueville: "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." [Note: Minor complaint-- Wikiquote says this wasn't actually said by de Tocqueville.]
- Supports life, marriage, and values.
- Claims a consistent record, not "bough and paid for by the good old boys"
- Lots of similarities between him, other candidates, but some differences.
- Are the differences important enough to you to vote for a candidate who may not win?
- Notes his differences with Schwarz in 2004, and his performance in that election.
- Asks that one vote for the candidate that reflects your values.
- Hopes to "restore America".
- Notes that she's a member of the NRA and pro-life-- not a "liberal," as Walberg would claim.
- Fiscally responsible-- has to be, considering the low income on which she raises her family.
- With her, "What you see is what you get."
- Walberg was "bought and paid for," only voted no in the state legislature except for his own pay increases-- voted against helping people, for "fattening his own piggy bank."
- Promises to put Walberg's voting record and Congressman Joe Schwarz's FEC complaint on her website.
With that, the debate concluded.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
7th District Debate!
So, I just got back a few minutes ago from the 7th District candidate forum in Adrian. Wow!
Tomorrow, I'll have a real post, based on the notes I took, each question and each of the four candidate's answers, and a real assessment of performances. But right now, a quick response.
David Horn - US Taxpayers Party - Tonight, he was the "me too" candidate, and the audience noticed. Each time Tim Walberg answered a question before he did, his response was something to the effect of "I agree with Mr. Walberg, and might add that..." He also didn't make too many friends when he thanked Spring Arbor College for hosting the debate, when, in fact, it was Siena Heights University that hosted it.
Robert Hutchinson - Libertarian Party - The only time I agreed with him was when he argued for more accountability on Iraq, but I loved him to death. I'd never vote for him, but he was fun. At 83 years old, this is the first time he's run for office, and he's running against America's "failed foreign policy." In every answer, he was frank and honest and true to Libertarian ideals. When asked what the federal government ought to do to help Michigan's economy and job market, he replied, "The Federal government? Sounds to me like it's Michigan's problem!"
Tim Walberg - Republican Party - Make no mistake, Tim Walberg is an experienced, polished politician and very skilled in debating. He spoke with that sense of sincerity that's practiced so hard that you can tell it's fake. I'll get into the issues tomorrow-- like, apparently, that we ought to get rid of health insurance and have people pay on their own. The man is a natural, career politician (it's worth noting, out of the 30 years he's spent in Michigan, 16 were spent in the state legislature, and even more has been spent running for office. Hmm...). Oddly enough, Jack Lessenberry's commentary today touches on the kind of politician Walberg is. Go check it out.
Sharon Renier - Democratic Party - Even though the debate rules specified that there would be no attacks on the other candidates, Sharon Renier did hit hard on Walberg on a number of issues. As she told me afterwards, "Someone had to!" She got a great deal of applause and support from the audience, and managed to give plenty of new and old supporters bumper stickers (including me). She isn't a polished performer like Tim Walberg, but she was prepared, she was real, and she connected with the audience in a way no other candidate did. Although I'm a bit biased, I do think she was the winner of the debate. (By the way- she's also got the endorsement of Esquire magazine! Thanks, Matt at Michigan Liberal.)
Best Moment of the Debate - When Iraq came up, Tim Walberg's response began with "Too easily, we forget 9/11..." First, someone in the audience said, "Oh, man," and then a series of boos were heard. Then, lots of booing, to the point that we couldn't hear his answer for a few moments. This is "conservative" Lenawee County rejecting the 9/11-Iraq link, just like the rest of the country.
I live here in Lenawee County. On the south side of my town, there's this odd intersection. Travelling south into it, there are three ways you can go. One way, you turn left. Another, you turn right, only to curve straight onto the next part of the road. Finally, you can turn all the way to the right, and travel east.
The result of this is that there are three traffic lights, labeled "Left", "Right", and "Right". I've always joked that the intersection represented the political biases of the county and the area. But here I was tonight, at a debate full of plenty of Republicans (who cheered Jim Koehn (R) in the debate for HD057 immediately before the Congressional debate). And they booed Tim Walberg. They responded when he was hypocritical, and they cheered Sharon Renier when she offered genuine, Democratic solutions to problems. They applauded when she exposed Tim Walberg's real record. Right here, in Lenawee County.
I think, perhaps, we need a new set of traffic lights, 'cause those ones don't work anymore.
Labels: 2006 Election
Monday, October 16, 2006
Jack Lessenberry and Sharon Renier
I missed Jack Lessenberry's interview and commentary when it was broadcast today, although Lessenberry is certainly my favorite radio personality. And I can't seem to get the audio file of his interview to play (help from those more technologically knowledgable would be appreciated). But his commentary following the interview is a must-read.
Why? Because Jack Lessenberry chose to interview the Michigan candidate with all the momentum in this election cycle-- 7th District Democratic nominee Sharon Marie Renier.
Go listen to the interview, and let me know how it went. But first, there's Lessenberry's commentary.
I think the only thing I didn't like about his essay was the title-- "Lost Opportunity". As the recent poll showed, the race is far from over, and I have confidence in the voters of the district, as well as in Sharon Renier, to reject Tim Walberg's far-right positions.
After the title, the rest of the essay is gold. (All emphasis added)
It's true, the race would be a lot different if the DNC and the DCCC had been involved from the start. It's possible that Renier might not even be the nominee had that been the case. But that's part of the incredible race that's unfolding.
On one side, we have Tim Walberg (R), bought and paid for by out-of-state interests. On the other side, we have Sharon Renier (D), the home-grown candidate, farmer from Munith who's low-budget campaign reflects the real positions of the 7th Congressional District. Tim Walberg claims to be the "values" candidate, a slogan I'm certain has been tested by dozens of focus groups around the country. Sharon Renier, on the other hand, represents the real values we admire: hard work, dedication, and integrity.
While in the Michigan Legislature, Walberg was famous for voting “no” the vast majority of the time. He opposed raising the minimum wage. He voted against establishing a Rosa Parks Day, against a seat belt law, against a tax credit for donations to the Michigan Vietnam Veterans Memorial, against expelling kids who physically assault teachers and against tougher laws on tobacco sales to minors.That's the real Tim Walberg. Is he the kind of person you want representing us in Washington?
This can't be repeated enough. Joe Schwarz, respected Republican and veteran lawmaker says that Sharon Renier "is pretty bright and has a good grasp of a lot of issues". In the highly polarized political atmosphere we see in American politics, this is as close to an endorsement as anyone could reasonably expect. A Republican says a Democrat knows what she's talking about on the issues. That's a signal to stop and pay close attention.
It's certainly clear that Schwarz won't be supporting Tim Walberg on November 7th. Now, who do you think he'll vote for? David Horn, the US Taxpayers candidate (to the right of Walberg)? Robert Hutchinson, the Libertarian? Or Sharon Renier, the very credible candidate?
The DNC might not be interested in helping Sharon Renier, but you should be. Head on over to her website, and volunteer or contribute.
Labels: 2006 Election
Sunday, October 15, 2006
More Money, 23 Days Left
Today's Daily Telegram (Adrian) had a front-page story on the latest FEC filings for Tim Walberg and Sharon Renier.
ADRIAN — Republican Tim Walberg spent about 45 times more than his Democratic opponent in the race to represent the 7th Congressional District during the period from July 20 to Sept. 30, according to documents filed Friday and Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.He spent 45 times more than Renier? And yet, he's only leading by 8 percent. Hmm...
But Renier's campaign is anything but floundering:
“We have over 400 volunteers and we will be knocking on doors in these next four weeks and we will hit every single voter in the next four weeks,” she said in an interview Saturday.(Emphasis added)
This has me really excited. Those of you who remember the 2004 campaign will recall that, despite her best efforts, Sharon Renier could never really break through and get her message out. This time, it will be different. (By the way-- you want to make that 500 volunteers? 600?)
Despite what Walberg may hope, the campaign is far from over.
Labels: 2006 Election
7th District Debate -- Tues. Oct. 17
Reprinted from the Adrian Daily Telegram:
ADRIAN — The Daily Telegram and radio station WLEN-FM, along with the League of Women Voters, will sponsor a debate Tuesday with candidates for the 7th Congressional District and the Michigan House seat representing most of Lenawee County.If you're in the Adrian area, go cheer on Sharon Renier and ask the tough questions of Tim Walberg. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it-- of all the days to hold it, they picked that one-- but I'd love to get someone there to give a post-debate report for the blog.
While you're there, tell Dudley Spade that he's been doing a fantastic job, too. Remember, Spade (a Democrat) represents the seat Tim Walberg once held. Both Dudley and his brother Doug before him have been much better legislators.
Labels: 2006 Election
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Money - Part I
Follow the money.
-- W. Mark Felt (aka "Deep Throat")
I ain't no Deep Throat by any measure, but money and its sources tend to help put things in perspective. With the 3rd Quarter FEC reports due October 15 (tomorrow), I thought it might be interesting to look at where Tim Walberg's phenomenal fundraising came from.
Just as a note, primary challengers against incumbents don't get lots of funding in most cases. When Patrick Flynn challenged incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers (R, MI-08) this summer, he raised only $3,432-- and $2,672 of that was his own money. Rogers, on the other hand, had received $1,025,756. But Michigan saw two particularly well-funded primary challenges, with Pan Godchaux managing $467,170 against Joe Knollenberg and with Tim Walberg's challenge to Congressman Joe Schwarz.
Walberg raised $615,346 between announcing his candidacy and July 19, 2006-- the date of the pre-primary FEC report against Joe Schwarz's $1,347,103. But strikingly, Walberg narrowly out-raised Schwarz if one only counts individual contributions-- ordinary citizens contributing up to $2,100 to a candidate-- at $600,620 to $572,315. So Tim Walberg must have a strong base of support among average citizens, right? Well, maybe. But they weren't 7th District voters.
If I'm interpreting it correctly, the FEC data available online only includes contributions of $200 to $2,100, the maximum "hard-money" donation following the McCain-Feingold law. I'd say these are pretty substantial contributions, since not everyone has several hundred dollars to drop on a candidate. Even the most politically involved will often only donate $20 at a time. Of the $600,620 Walberg raised, $364,348 can be attributed to these donations, each of which are listed online by the FEC. That's 59.2 percent of contributions, coming from 655 donations.
That's a lot of people dropping a lot of money for Tim Walberg. But who were these people? A few notable names pop out here and there. I recognized at least two names related to prominent Lenawee County businesses. But as one looks down the list, it becomes clear that most of the contributions didn't come from the state of Michigan.
Of those 655 donations, only 116 came from Michigan residents. That's a mere 17.7 percent of his contributions.
Another way of looking at it: out of the $364,348 of major contributions, only $68,991 came from Michigan.That's just 18.9 percent of the money.
Mind you, this doesn't even make the distinction between in the 7th District and outside the district but still in Michigan. Plenty of money came from the Detroit suburbs or Grand Rapids or elsewhere, too. But it's striking that so much money came to Walberg during the primary campaign from so many people that don't even live in the state!
So why do so many out-of-staters like Tim Walberg? Or, perhaps we should be asking why so few people in Michigan support him!
As we all know, though, modern political campaigns rely on more than just individual contributors. A big part of campaign financing comes from non-party committees, often PACs, that are interested in the outcome of the race. Joe Schwarz got a majority of his money from them, $773,015. How about Tim Walberg?
Walberg received only $33,065 directly from such groups (Note: that figure does not include contributions more recent than July 19, despite their inclusion on the FEC page). I am somewhat confused, however; that value was found by adding all of the contributions labeled under "Walberg for Congress" and "Contributions". Yet the summary page of Walberg's latest FEC filing has only $12,000 listed as his total. Is there something I'm misunderstanding?
Regardless, it's a relatively small portion of his total financing. Even so, its sources are:
Well, not quite. See, that only covers the actual direct contributions those organizations gave to Tim Walberg's campaign committee. The Club for Growth and others, however, spent money independently of Walberg as well, while still acting in support of him or in opposition to Joe Schwarz.
A total of $227,334 was spent in this way, by three different organizations. That will be covered in Part II of this post, which should come sometime tomorrow. Until then, the questions for you to think about:
Why did so much of Tim Walberg's money come from out-of-state donors or PACs and similar organizations? Is his constituency really the voters of the 7th District? Or would he vote to protect the interests of his donors?
UPDATE: A little more information on how the Club for Growth raises money for candidates, thanks to Laura Packard, a wealth of information. Via e-mail:
Most of Walberg's money came from Club for Growth, but not from their
Thursday, October 12, 2006
First Poll on Walberg v. Renier
(Details on the poll can be found here.)
Some might criticize me for celebrating an 8-point lead for Walberg. But this can only be seen as a good thing.
Some important facts:
More in the coming days, I promise.
Labels: 2006 Election
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Tim Walberg - Fiscal Conservative?
On Tim Walberg's website, his biography page includes the following:
That bold emphasis, by the way, is original from the page. It's clear that he considers himself a "principled voice for less government spending," and he wants you to know that. It's a constant theme from the first day of his campaign-- he's "pro-taxpayer" and anti-spending.
But is he really so principled? Will he stand and say no, with all his strength, to extra spending? Obviously it's something he feels very strongly about, that a minimalist, hands-off government is best. Does he put that into practice?
In the comments, a reader points us toward The Truth About Tim Walberg, a website operated by Republicans Who Care. Perhaps this was their answer to the "Joe Schwarz is a Liberal" website the Club for Growth created during the primary. I have to admit, I actually felt some sympathy for Walberg when visiting that website, because it showed there's a little more to him than the "Mr. No" he campaigns on. He really will spend some money when he thinks it's worth it, and, to a "tax-and-spend liberal" like me, I appreciate it.
Mind you, my sympathy didn't last long. Even someone like me might hesitate for a moment before voting to allow state spending on color television for prison inmates. That's just me, though.
If you're a conservative Republican that supports Tim Walberg because you feel he's an honest, fiscal conservative, you might want to read more about the Truth About Tim Walberg. The truth is, he's not the anti-spending advocate he claims to be. He'll spend just as much as anyone else, when he feels like it.
Labels: 2006 Election
Friday, October 06, 2006
When Tim Walberg (R) was looking for a fundraising boost, what did he do? He invited Vice President Dick Cheney to a fundraising lunch that, technically speaking, wasn't even in Michigan's 7th Congressional District.
Who attended? I don't know, but they must have really loved Tim Walberg and Dick Cheney, 'cause it was pretty expensive lunch:
Cheney pulled in about $150,000 at a luncheon for Walberg, R-Tipton, who is battling Sharon Renier, D-Munith, in the Jackson area's race for Congress.(Emphasis added)
$250 a plate.
Now, what does Sharon Marie Renier (D) do when she's hoping to raise some money?
You doing anything tomorrow? Got $7? Head on over to Battle Creek and have some cake.
Is Battle Creek too far of a drive, or is 9:30 AM tomorrow inconvenient? Why don't you consider giving her a few bucks anyway?
Despite all the "conventional wisdom," this can become a competitive race. Tim Walberg does not have the support of the many Schwarz-style moderates in the district, and Sharon Renier is out their working hard to get her message out and earn votes. But when Tim Walberg has somebody like Dick Cheney to help bring in the big money, who does Renier have to help her?
(or via ActBlue)
Labels: 2006 Election
This isn't directly related to Sharon Renier (D) or Tim Walberg (R). Instead, it's just a general reason to vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress.
The Associated Press, via ABC News, reports on what the beginning of a Democratic Congress would look like (thanks to Chris Bowers at MyDD):
Tired of a Congress that only focuses on Terry Schiavo, gay marriage, and flag burning? Want real progress on the issues instead of a Congress whose only major accomplishment was the torture "compromise"?
Democrats might not be able to accomplish all that in the first 100 hours, but I'll bet they can do it in the first 10 days, without a doubt. And if they can do that much good that quickly, imagine where our country could be a year from now.
Democrat Sharon Renier
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Walberg and Cheney
Some thoughtful insight, promoted from the comments:
I got an email invite to the VP visit. It came from Walberg's campaign. It says the event is "Honoring" Walberg. Makes no mention it any other candidates are going to be there. It goes on to claim the fundraiser is to benefit the "Michigan Congressional Victory Committee '06" which is describes as "a joint fundraising committee established on behalf of Tim Walberg for Congress and the Michigan Republican Party."Hm.
UPDATE: Out of fairness, another promoted comment...
Walberg was the only candidate on the stage with Vice President Cheney. Walberg introduced the Vice President and was the only candidate to whom the Vice President offered his endorsement. This event was exclusively about Tim Walberg. Now, who is lying?I, of course, was not at the event. Part of it is that I do not support Tim Walberg or Vice President Cheney, and part of it is that I, frankly, can't afford a $250 lunch ($5 or less is my preference).
It could be that the previous commenter was wrong in his assertions, and shouldn't have been labeled "thoughtful insights". That said, there's still no answer to Sharon Marie Renier's question:
"Why are they bringing in Cheney against some little chicken farmer?" asked Renier, referring to herself. "Are they worried?"
UPDATE II: Should have mentioned this earlier, really... the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, as well as others, has coverage of the fundraiser.
One slightly disturbing quote:
Huh. With all due respect, I've always thought it was about the voters, and not God. Of all the many problems and crises around the world in which He hasn't intervened, I'd be really surprised if He chose to decide the outcome of a Congressional District in southern Michigan.
And I'd be really, really surprised if he decided in favor of Tim Walberg. But then, that's me.
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